The Celtics days of Kevin Garnett – The Athletic

Before winning a championship with the Boston Celtics and earning a spot for his jersey in the TD Garden rafters, Kevin Garnett had to face Gabe Pruitt.

The guard out of USC only lasted two seasons in the NBA. He never averaged more than 2.1 points per game in the league. But at the start of the Celtics’ 2007 training camp, held in Rome overseas, Pruitt stoked Garnett’s competitive fury. After Boston’s starting five allowed Pruitt to go in their first-ever scrimmage, Garnett let loose.

“KG was talking to everyone on the sidelines,” recalls Leon Powe. “He was hot. He was letting everyone know that he didn’t come here (to Boston) for this.

After practice, when the Celtics piled into a team bus for a visit with the mayor of Rome, Garnett still couldn’t let go. During the brief trip, Danny Ainge said Garnett arranged an impromptu meeting with Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Garnett wanted to find ways to get the ball out of Pruitt’s hands and put more pressure on him.

“He’s so frustrated and angry that Gabe Pruitt just lighted his team for 28 points in a scrimmage half,” Ainge said. “And it was real. He was really mad.

No one else on the team felt that level of concern. Not even Rivers, the head coach. But every detail mattered to Garnett. He took everything on the field seriously, even a scrum at the start of training camp. For him, rookie Pruitt might as well have been Kobe Bryant or LeBron James.

“I don’t think Doc was going to bring up Gabe Pruitt (in conversation),” Ainge said.

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